An open letter to my daughters.

In case I never get around to saying this, or in the event that something happens and I cause you to think otherwise I want you to always remember that you are the most beautiful women in the world and deserve to have every chance you can take.

As much as I think I am “making you”, as a parent I’m really only pointing you in a general direction for your life in the best direction as I see it. The direction may not always be the best, it might even lead to a dead-end in some cases and require you (us actually) to back-track and try something else. I realize that there are some times you’re doing something only because “dad said so”, but I’m hopeful that over time our directions will continue to become more and more parallel. I only want what is best for you even if “best” isn’t the direction we appear to be going.

I also want you to grow up to be someone who can and will make good decisions on your own. There will be a time when feel alone – it is those times as a parent I’m most afraid for the outcome. It might be a time when you’re truly alone and have to rely on your own instinct and reasoning to persevere, or it might be a time when you’re feeling pressured to do or say something that you feel in your gut isn’t right. I hope you’ll have the strength to act on what you feel is right at that time.

Your gut feeling is made up partially by what I have helped instill in you over time, but also part of what you have learned and have taken from what I and others have said and done. I can’t pour in a lifetime of knowledge into you in the few short years you’re living under my roof, but I can try to lead as good as an example as I can every day.

Was I perfect? I’m the first to admit no, not by a long shot. There are some events that we both could point to as a failing, and there are some that you saw as a failing that I did not. There are also points along the way where I feel that I failed you but you made it through and probably didn’t notice. The ones where we acknowledge a failure together are acceptable because we can both learn and hopefully move on. The ones where you saw a failure and I didn’t are harder for me to correct but at the same time I’m proud that you are able to adapt and grow from it. The ones that I’ve kept inside are probably some of the hardest – I know I have failed in some extent but somehow either you adapted or you assumed that I made that choice. If you adapted I’m proud of you accomplishment – it definitely wasn’t by me helping at that moment. If you suffered and thought it was because I made the choice to have you suffer, I apologize and I can never make it up to you. Those moments will live in my mind forever.

All of that is taking place while you’re still on your way to adulthood. After you become an adult, your directions and actions are your own. I’m hopeful that the direction I set you on is a good one, and I hope that all those life events (good and bad) help provide you with adequate background to continue making good decisions when you’re on your own.

Remember this: As long as you continue to make good decisions based on what you know and stay true to yourself, family, and friends, you’ll always have my love and respect.

I can’t tell what is going to happen tomorrow any more than I can ten years from now. If you choose a path then that isn’t a faint option today, as long as you make that choice by staying true to yourself I’ll respect and love you for it irregardless. There may be some decisions you make that I don’t understand, and you might hear me sigh or see me roll my eyes I still love you deeply.

Once you’ve are on your own making adult decisions and accepting the consequences for yourself, I will do my best to stay out of your personal business until I’m asked. I hope that you will feel you can come to me for any advice – “words of wisdom” is way too conceited – but I’ll understand when you make your own way even if it isn’t what I’d advise. I may not fully support every action you might take, but I will promise to do my best to understand your decisions and support you.

As you become an adult, I’ll do my best to let you shine in the spotlight for all the accomplishments you will have. I will brag about being your parent when you’re graduating or accepting awards, but everything it took to get up to that point was you and I won’t take credit for that. Your decisions – whether I agreed with them or not – were yours and got you to where you will be. I can only hope that the direction I set you on many years ago were the ones that helped you become the “you” you will be.